‘Piranha 3DD’ movie review: killer fish, bare breasts, and David Hasselhoff

2010’s Piranha 3D – an Alejandro Aja-directed remake of the campy Roger Corman-produced 1978 film – wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it near-brilliant: a subversive attack on the kind of blood & babes film that many took it for, it’s climax featured a stunning display of realistic, gut-churning Saving Private Ryan-style violence that forced audiences to reconsider whether they were actually enjoying what they were watching.

And viola! Here’s the sequel, Piranha 3DD (geddit?), which represents precisely the kind of movie that its predecessor so successfully tore apart. 

Filled with wall-to-wall nudity and cartoon violence, it doesn’t have a thought in its head other than to give its audience what it (supposedly) wants: tits and gore, and frequently a mixture of the two. Even on that level, it’s a dud; cheap-looking, poorly-edited, and underwritten, it’s no different than 90% of the genre’s direct-to-DVD fare.

I’d dismiss the film outright, but it does contain (precious) few merits, including the 3D presentation, which is nothing special, though underwater scenes look pretty good, and the dimensionality distracts from the cheap CGI creature effects.

The film also contains the immortal line: “Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina!” No, the filmmakers have no idea what to do with the subtext, but there that line is, hanging in the air; even though you’ve just seen a man cut off his penis because a piranha latched onto it mid-coitus from inside a woman’s vagina, you still can’t believe your ears.

And then there’s the film’s real saving grace: David Hasselhoff, starring in an extended cameo as himself, a celebrity lifeguard at a waterpark’s grand opening. Piranha 3DD may not offer much else, but it takes full advantage of the Hoff legacy, from his role as Mitch on Baywatch to his recording career to the infamous drunken video shot by his daughter.

There’s a story in here somewhere, too, though the film is barely 70 minutes minus end credits and outtakes. It involves the opening of a new waterpark, and prehistoric piranhas, which are pumped into the park through an underground well just in time for the big day. Forget the logistics; the film is only interested in providing images of scantily clad woman on innertubes being attacked by deadly fish while riding down the Water Slide.

There’s a small cast on hand, too. Ving Rhames and Christopher Lloyd return in cameos reprising their roles from the earlier film; David Koechner is the slimy owner of the waterpark, and Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th) is his daughter and our heroine.

Director John Gulager made the Feast films, the first of which, at least, was campy fun that knew what it was. Piranha 3DD is a desperate attempt that may be campy but is by no means fun; it’s a cheap, trashy piece of junk that fails to live up to its predecessor or deliver the goods on its own accord.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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